For a home that has been completed for several years, it is fairly easy to determine if Chinese drywall was used during construction. Your home inspector will be able to provide you with this information.
This problem is more wide spread than Florida and has been traced to a number of other states in the south eastern portion of the US.
There are builders that have come forward and taken responsibility for this issue, mover the owners out, and made necessary repairs at no charge to them. However, when you speak with the owners, many of them have additional concerns that have not been resolved: damaged electrical appliances, cleaning expences, medical bills etc.
Don't expect the insurance companies to rush to anyones rescue. This is a good example of another tangled mess that will take a while to unravel....until that happens, we can plan on watching the key players(builders, developers, trades people, distributers etc.) pointing their fingers at each other.
Sorry I am late in responding, been out of town. I was recently interviewed by the News-Press regarding Chinese Drywall. As our discussions increased I suggested that they contact the Govenors office and start pressuring them for some answers. This has promoted an addendum that is now available for all FAR BAR contracts. It is called the Chinese/Defective Drywal Addendum to Contract. It allows for inspection time and a damage $ amount if exceeded causes the contract to be voided and deposit refunded. You have heard the topical signs of detecting this type of drywall, but if you do suspect C.D. then you easily can gain access to the attic and move aside the insulation and look on the drywall and you will know it US or Chinese by the language. It is doubtful it would be intermingled in the walls, however, you have other environmental sources that can bring in equipment that can measure the toxins in the air (Environmental Services). My personal contact with the homes that have this substance in them have only been in 2005 and one in 2006. I would like to offer you a free website that allows you access to the Gulfcoast MLS: http://www.swfloridahomebuyer.listingbook.com. I will be happy to answer any other questions you have.
P/S As a buyers realtor, we are obligated to giving you full disclosure on any known defects. As a seller's realtor we are under the same ethics law. Once a seller signs a FL contract for listing their home they are put under the same obligation of disclosure and can be held liable if they knowingly try to sell their home without disclosing this fact. Realtors rely on the full disclosure statement that the seller is required to sign upon listing their home.
The legal and insurance remedies are still being worked out.
Sarah Garrett, Realtor
ALLIANCE REALTY GROUP
"Chosen Best in Client Satisfaction 2006-2008"
By Gulfshore Life Magazine
Good luck with your search!
The Chinese drywall was only used in homes from 04-08, with a seemingly heavier concentration in 06 built homes. There are a few resources available to find out which builders used it. The state is doing testing on homes to find out exactly what the health risks are in affected homes. The insurance companies aren't doing anything at this point - the only recourse I'm aware of is to contact the builder of your home. If you're purchasing a home in the area now, I would highly recommend getting an inspection prior to close to determine if there is any evidence of C.D. in it. There are a few properties on the market right now with known C.D. and are typically priced to reflect the work needed to remediate the issue.
I have a few links on my website regarding the drywall issues, including a state resource. If I can answer any other questions for you please let me know.
I hope you're having a great weekend!
There is a good article in todays paper here about it, it also lists a number of builders in the paper, but not all of them as I have saw it in some homes where the builders were not on this list.
Remember its all pretty new to the area so it is just starting to be looked into.
LaGace & Whitt Partners
Century 21 Birchwood Realty Inc.
4040 Del Prado Blvd.
Cape Coral, FL 33904